Lincoln Electric Holdings Inc.’s (LECO) shares attained a 52-week high of $75.92 during intraday trading on March 4, finally closing lower at $75.46.
The company has delivered a robust year-to-date return of about 37.6%, outperforming the S&P 500 return of 26.0%. Lincoln Electric has a market cap of $6.1 billion. Average volume of shares traded over the last 3 months was approximately 334K. The company has long-term estimated earnings per share growth rate of 17.1%.
What’s Driving Lincoln Electric?
Shares of Lincoln Electric have been trending upward since the company reported a 38% year-on-year improvement in its fourth-quarter 2013 adjusted earnings to $1.09 per share (including 22 cents per share from Venezuelan operations) on Feb 14. Results also beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 84 cents. The company has delivered four straight quarters of positive earnings surprises.
For full-year 2013, Lincoln Electric reported adjusted earnings per share of $3.77, up around 19% from $3.16 in 2012. Results were ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3.54.
Lincoln Electric will benefit from investment in growth, which includes an active acquisition program and development in manufacturing platforms. In addition, the company’s dividend program and share repurchase activity will be accretive, going forward.
Looking forward in 2014, Lincoln Electric will focus on innovative solutions and margin improvements through the continued implementation of commercial and operational initiatives. The company continues to leverage its expertise and proprietary technologies to capitalize on the increasing technical and high performance requirements of original equipment manufacturers and large scale engineering projects worldwide. In the quarter, it made new investments in these areas, which include a European robotic automation platform based in Germany.
Other Stocks to Consider
Lincoln Electric currently holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Some other stocks worth considering in the sector include Actuant Corporation (ATU), Snap-on Inc. (SNA) and Toro Co. (TTC) all of which hold a Zacks Rank #2.